Indonesia Fans Flames With Plan to Derail ‘No Deforestation’ Palm Oil Pledge

Press release - October 15, 2015
As Indonesia chokes the region with smoke haze borne from deforestation, the Indonesian government has indicated it aims to replace the No Deforestation commitments made last year by palm oil traders who signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. [1]

Late on Tuesday a coordinating minister outlined the government’s intention to form a new palm oil producers grouping together with Malaysia [2] and a fortnight ago, IPOP signatory companies were summoned to the economics ministry to be told commitments to ensure deforestation-free supply chains were unacceptable to government. [3]

Annisa Rahmawati, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace SEA Indonesia said:

“Even as the smoke haze emergency is ongoing the Indonesian government proposes to lower the standards for palm oil producers, instead of ensuring that companies protect forests and peatlands. The haze crisis is a direct result of deforestation by the palm oil and pulp sectors. So why is the Indonesian government encouraging companies to make the fires worse by destroying more forest and draining more peatlands?

“Ministers should be praising ‘no deforestation’ companies for trying to stop the crisis, instead of fanning the flames with this ‘licence to burn’.

“The haze is a humanitarian disaster caused by a man-made environmental crisis, and threatens the health of millions, even causing premature deaths. Decades of destruction has turned Indonesia’s forests and peatlands into a ticking climate bomb. If President Jokowi is serious about protecting his people and stopping the forest fires, he should stand with the progressive companies to ensure that the rest of the industry stop creating next year’s disaster.

“The Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge is an opportunity for Indonesia to become the biggest producer of responsible palm oil, but instead the government is proposing to follow Malaysia and lower the standard. Smallholders and economic concerns in Indonesia are being used as an excuse by the industry and the government to avoid ending the large scale deforestation and peat drainage that is the root of the current fire crisis.

“The government says it is concerned about smallholders. The companies in IPOP that have made the No Deforestation pledge have also committed to work with smallholders to enhance their productivity. If these pledges are implemented, it will enable smallholders to profit from the global market demand for responsible palm oil,” Annisa Rahmawati said.

Rashid Kang, head of Greenpeace China forest campaign said:

‘’Indonesia should stop playing the card that China is a ready market for dirty palm oil as a way to justify its race to the bottom. If China were to accept Indonesia’s request for weaker standards, it would send the message that China endorses a solution with more deforestation and more carbon emissions. “This definitely would not sit well with the leadership that China has been showing to the world as a responsible big player in the lead up to the COP 21 climate talks.” [4]


Notes to Editors:


[2] As reported in local and international media including Reuters

[3] As told to Greenpeace by company sources, and as reported by Reuters

[4] During his recent trip to Washington and New York, China head of state Xi Jinping’s government announced a new cap-and-trade program to lower carbon emissions, provide $3.1 billion to help developing countries combat and adapt to climate change, and invest $12 billion to help poorer countries reach the U.N.’s new global sustainable development goals over the next 15 years.

Media Contacts:

Annisa Rahmawati, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace SEA Indonesia. Mobile: +62 8111097527

Igor O’Neill, International Media for Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaign. Mobile +62 811 1923 721